Authorities of the Environment Protection Agency (EPA) have begun investigating a recent fire incident that destroyed documents and equipment in the building on May 22.The fire according to EPA Authority gutted the Finance office, leaving essential documents damaged.At a press conference yesterday, EPA’sActing executive director, Stephen Neufville told reporters that the fire did not only damage the finance office, but some financial documents, desktop computers including two other laptops as well as office chairs and desks.Director Neufville said since the unfortunate incident, staffers at the agency have continued to hear unsubstantiated allegations regarding the fire outbreak, particularly the one which affected the finance department.“We want to clarify in this public manner that, we do not have any idea as to what led to the outbreak of the fire that gutted our building,” he dismissed the public perception.The acting EPA Director explained, among other things that the fire fighters from the Liberia National Fire Service were called in to quench the fire and they succeeded.Director Neufville said the incident was immediately reported to the Liberia National Police (LNP) for investigation, “and we are waiting for the results of the investigation so that the EPA Administration will have an idea of what caused the fire disaster.”He then promised to make known any results that will be submitted to the EPA by the National Fire Service and the Liberia National Police.“It is our hope that this clarification will give the public a better understanding of what transpired,” he said.At the same time, Director Neufville has disclosed that based on the incident, the widely talked about coincidental Internal Risk Assessment Team has also commenced its work at the agency.“In fact, the communication from the Internal Audit Secretarial was lately delivered May 21, at about close of business day, and on the morning of May 22, and the team was proceeding with its job.”The team, Director Neufville said, is carry out risk assessment audit of the EPA’s internal control system, and not financial as being perceived by the general public since the fire incident.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
One-year-old Sonell D. Wleh will not get to play with his father, Prince Toby Wleh.The 27-year-old footballer, who recently joined first division club, Gedi & Sons, was reportedly shot and killed last Friday night, according to his younger brother, William B. Wleh.The newly signed on player for Gedi & Sons died at the Redemption Hospital; the body was later transferred to the A. B. Anderson Funeral Home, according to family sources.“This is an unfortunate situation to befall a footballer,” said former NPA star player, Jonathan Armah Baxter, during an interview yesterday. “The whole community is affected by his murder.”The incident occurred near his mother’s residence in Island Clinic, Monrovia, by assailants that have not been identified.The victim was a freshman student at the UMU and wanted to become a biologist, according to family sources.Older sister Celestine Wleh told the Daily Observer Saturday afternoon that the family is confused and is asking anyone with information that could lead to the assailants to contact the police.“We don’t know why my brother was targeted and who did it,” Celestine said. “Up to now we are still asking why my brother died.”The Observer learned that the victim took part in a just ended community soccer tournament sponsored by Hon. Edward Forh, held at the St. Paul Bridge area.A family member said there were reports of some confusion at the end of the tournament, and the final game was awarded to Island Clinic, where the victim was a star player.“He became the highest goal scorer as well as the Most Valuable Player; and he was expected to have been honored on Saturday, March 2,” the family member said, “but as it happened, he was killed on March 1.”However, all efforts by the Daily Observer to garner any confirmation on the alleged confusion that erupted at the end of the tournament proved futile.Police officers visited the crime scene, and the only person of interest was the bike driver who notified the victim’s younger brother about the condition of his brother, sources told the Daily Observer.Mr. B. Alphonso Armah, Secretary General of the Liberia Football Association, condemned the murder of Prince Wleh and told the Daily Observer yesterday that an investigation will be conducted by the LFA.“This is a shame to Liberian football,” Secretary General Armah said. “We express our condolences to the family.”Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
The bones of Liberia are rattling because of the many rigorous problems she faces. But as God told His Prophet Ezekiel, these bones, through faith in the love and power of God, WILL RISE AGAIN AND LIVE!This was the message of St. Stephen Episcopal Church’s Father Augustine Kpehe, when he delivered the fifth Lenten Sunday sermon yesterday. He took his theme from Ezekiel, chapter 37, in which God promised to breathe into these dry bones, put sinews, flesh and skin upon them, enabling them to rise again. Fr. Kpehe told parishioners that Liberia today is saddled with plentiful problems, but with faith in God, we shall rise again.The preacher did not elaborate on these problems. But many Liberians know them. First and foremost among is the continuing problem of corruption, which President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, in her first Inaugural Address nine years ago, declared “public enemy number one,” but has herself admitted failure to solve.The public, for three reasons, blames the President herself for this failure: first, her failure to successfully prosecute corrupt officials but rather, retain many in positions of power. Second, she has brought back into powerful positions people who in the not too distant past have been caught red-handed in glaring corruption.Third, she has in three ways played too dangerously and too persistently with corruption’s closest and most powerful ally or twin sister—nepotism: by retaining in powerful positions two of her sons—Charles as Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Liberia, and Fumba as Director General of the National Security Agency; then, despite public and international outcry against it, by appointing a third, indeed her most powerful son, Robert, as Chairman of the National Oil Company of Liberia (NOCAL). For three years, she stoically weathered the storm of persistent criticism, then reluctantly removed him as NOCAL Chair, only to quickly re-appoint him Ambassador to oil-rich Kuwait! That placed him in the strategic position to still call the shots at NOCAL. Next thing we learned, he emerged with a US$14 million Kuwaiti loan, negotiations for which the public was unaware of any involvement by the Foreign or Finance Ministry.The third way in which the President has, wittingly or unwillingly, fostered nepotism, corruption’s twin sister, is by permitting senior members of her family members to wield powerful behind-the-scene influence in many vital sectors of government, grievously undermining public accountability and giving undue advantage to foreign business interests.This has led to yet another continuing national crisis: the poverty of Liberians and their consequent SUBSERVIENCE (submissiveness, obedience, acquiescence, passivity) to foreigners in the Liberians’ own country. So whatever happened to Liberia’s sovereignty—or that of its people? No, we are no longer sovereign but subservient in our own country, where almost everything is owned and dominated by foreigners.The government is free to dismiss these foreboding reflections as the musings of disgruntled elements. But we at the Daily Observer newspaper are NOT disgruntled people. Far from it, we are patriotic people who have striven over the decades to place our country FIRST before ourselves, declining, shying away from and rejecting money, privileges and other perks, choosing instead to stand for truth, justice and fair play and to be the voice of the voiceless in our country.We cannot be anything less in this rich country, where poverty, deprivation and listlessness are still rampant. We ignore these dangerous, distressing signals at our own peril, and the peril of our nation itself. We cannot, MUST NOT, lest we become part of the problem. That is why we have never relented in voicing our persistent opposition to the sidelining of a Liberian hotelier in favor of a Lebanese businessman to rebuild the Robertsfield Hotel. Here was a clear case of nepotistic influence by family insiders against Liberian entrepreneurs in favor of foreign businesspeople.We have long complained about how President Tubman’s Open Door Policy gave the country to foreigners. We cannot and WILL not sit supinely and see the same thing happening all over again, raining tears and crying in the beloved country.Only last weekend, the wealthy former mayor of a Liberian city called for the “taking back of our country from these people before their time is up.”We know exactly what that means—another interim government to pillage, plunder and lead us back to war.The way forward is sit NOW and reason together with the powers that be toward inspiring, hopefully, a change in the national direction and pray that God will grant the rattling and reliving of Liberia’s bones. Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
The story recalled that the Ministry of State for Presidential Affairs, Dr. E.B. McClain, had recently, on behalf of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, written a letter to Monrovia beach workers pledging that they would, within a week, receive their four months’ wages arrears.Our Beach Correspondent Omari Jackson says the workers are in the third week of that promise, and no pay is yet forthcoming.We see two embarrassing issues here: first, the President’s word; and second, protecting the capital’s beaches from defecation and filth, from which they have suffered for a very long time, even in what Liberians love to call “normal days.”But first the President’s word, which is synonymous with her name. We fail to understand why the Executive Mansion would allow the President to renege on her promise to pay these workers their paltry wages.Everyone knows that the government is facing serious financial difficulties, owing to the persistent cry of “budgetary shortfalls.”We feel, however, that surely the government couldn’t be that broke to pay these little people their wages and protect the President’s good name with them.Messrs. McClain and Finance Minister Amara Konneh surely know the importance of WORD, which is one’s bond; and considering who the “one” is, not just anyone, but the President of the Republic of Liberia, these Ministers should do everything to possible to ensure that the word is KEPT and, by the same token, HONORED.Most of us live far from the stinging beaches, and our children and grandchildren are not affected by the deadly diseases they harbor–diarrhea, dysentery, worms and the chief killer of our young ones–malaria, whose treacherous carrier, the anopheles mosquito, breeds and festers best the filth on the “normal day” beaches.It is precisely for this reason that the Liberia Maritime Authority (LMA) and its Commissioner, Binyah Kesselly, initiated the beach cleaning project, covering all Monrovia beaches–those of ELWA, South Beach, West Point, Logan Town, Point Four and New Kru Town. The LMA recognized the absence of toilets and the city sanitation workers in all of these most densely populated townships. That is why under Mr. Kesselly’s leadership the LMA, in a burst of pathos and patriotism, hired locals from these very townships to keep the beaches clean.That was and remains a very good thing; so surely no one deserves punishment for that; rather praise and sustained support, to bring Monrovia’s beaches on par with those of Robertsport, Grand Cape Mount County which, they say, maintain the cleanest ones in the Republic.No wonder UNMIL personnel, hundreds of other internationals and beach lovers flock to Robertsport every weekend to enjoy the pristine and refreshing sea breeze that Cape Mount’s beaches offer.This newspaper has long contended that Cape Mount alone could feed Liberia for, like so many other hot tourism spots with which our beloved country is blest, the mountainous capital stands out as a unique and spotless paradise.Why do we say that, when we also have Harper, Cape Palmas and its beautiful Lake Shepherd, River Cess which former United States Ambassador Linda Thomas Greenfield believes is Liberia’s most beautiful spot, and all the other places along Liberia’s 350-mile coastline. Then there is the Liberian interior, rich not only in traditional culture, but forests, wildlife and waterfalls, too. We say Cape Mount is unique because there is no place in the world where, within a one mile radius, one can find a river, a lake (Lake Piso), a mountain and an ocean, the Atlantic.We pray that one day soon the Liberian government will engage some of the world’s best tourism developers to come in and invest in Cape Mount.But remember, we say Liberia is blest, for all the other reasons listed in the foregoing paragraph. Even the beaches of ELWA, West Point and New Kru Town could be developed for tourism.But in order to attract the tourists, these beaches must first be cleaned–just like the beaches in Robertsport!So Minister McClain, Minister Konneh, pay the people their money, save our children in these townships and pave the way for tourism development.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
Taxi Driver Seon Greene was sentenced to four years, six months imprisonment by Magistrate Judy Latchman at the final hearing of his case at the Georgetown Magistrates’ Courts on Wednesday.Magistrate Latchman before making her ruling took into consideration the fact that a life was lost, the need to preserve human resources, the need to prevent other offenders and the promotion of road safety.Greene’s Attorney Peter Hugh is however seeking to have his client’s conviction appealed and has since submitted an oral notice of appeal to the court.Magistrate Latchman placed weight on evidence given by now deceased Police Constable Kelvin Lafluear.She believed the defendant was inattentive and collided with the deceased, Mohamed Khan, while also failing to show cognisance of the five Cs of road safety – caution, care, common sense, courtesy and consideration – while using the roadways.Greene in his defence had told the court during his trial that Khan’s bicycle was unfit for road use, since it had no lights at the time of the accident. He had also said that it was the deceased who hit his vehicle and not the other way around.Greene pleaded not guilty to the charge which had alleged that on May 21, at Sandy Babb Street, Kitty, Georgetown, he drove his car in a manner dangerous to the public, thereby causing the death of Mohamed Khan. He was placed on million bail for the offence.
The long-existing suspicion and distrust between the media and the security sector may wither away soon, now that the Africa Center for Strategic Studies (ACSS) is taking steps towards bridging the gap between the two.At a one-day forum held on March 6, through the instrumentality of ACSS with support from the United States Embassy, representatives of various security apparatuses and some members of the Liberian media met for the first time and shared views as to why they do not share information to enlighten the public.Although the Ellen Johnson Sirleaf-led Administration has given the much needed press freedom to the media and has signed a series of documents including the Table Mountain Declaration and the Freedom of Information Act, there has always remained difficulties in receiving information from security institutions including the Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL), the Liberia National Police, (LNP) the Bureau of Immigration and Naturalization, (BIN) amongst others.At the forum, security personnel accused the media of ethical issues including failure to protect source and publishing of sensational stories that are not balanced and lack elements needed to substantiate the idea portrayed in headlines.A member of the Armed Forces of Liberia indicated that most journalists in the country do not ascertain their stories before publishing; instead, they hastily rush to put unbalanced stories in the newspaper or on the radio.According to the AFL personnel, when the Armed Forces of Liberia was sending a troop to Mali last year, the troop could not leave the day speculated in the media, but another day.“Instead of following the issue to report the actual day the troop departed the ground, the speculation was published and there was no follow-up. This makes us reluctant to believe information coming from the media,” the AFL personnel noted.Clarifying why security including the AFL does not just release information to the media for public consumption, Capt. Dessaline F. Allison, Chief of Public Affairs of the Armed Forces of Liberia said information is preserved in order to secure their operational activities which enemies do not need to know.Citing a reference to the crisis in the Ivory Coast, Capt. Allison said the Government of Liberia has committed itself to securing the border so that no Liberian or any rebellious group will cross to cause trouble in that country, but if suspects are caught, they cannot bluntly come out to announce to the public through the media because it will undermine the diplomatic relations between the two countries.According to him, the GOL’s Standard Operation Procedure (SOP) does not permit its public relations aparatus to put out certain information that may undermine the state, and as such the media will always blame government for not giving out information the public needs.Media practitioners at the forum in separate views also accused the security sector of intimidation and refusing to give information when requested.They said as a result of the poor relation exhibited by people in the security sector, they (media practitioners) go ahead and publish what they observe instead waiting for the other side of the story.The six-hour discussion, however, reached a consensus wherein the security sector and media agreed to work together in sharing publishable information and upholding information that may have security implications on the state.Speaking earlier at the opening of the forum, the Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassy in Monrovia, Sheila Paskman noted that government does not have to disclose everything to the press because of some legitimate reasons associated with state security.She cautioned the media to be credible and uphold its integrity by reporting balanced and accurate stories.Ms. Paskman said if readers do not see credible information in the news article, they will lose interest in reading the paper or listening to the station; noting that journalists have to strive to write balanced stories to arouse readers’ interest.For Colonel Thomas Dempsey of the Africa Center for Strategic Studies, “relationships between the media and government are very important in building democracy—especially the security sector.The forum was themed and styled: “Strategic Role of the Media in Security Sector Reform,” and based on this theme, Col. Dempsey said the Africa Center for Strategic Studies was bringing journalists and personnel of the security sector together to build a relationship through which the public will be involved with knowing what the state security is all about.Mr. James Momo, a former reporter of the Inquirer Newspaper now working with the ACSS told media practitioners that they have to consider that confidentiality was important in Journalism and that not all information is meant to be published.He said reporting on security requires accuracy and balancing like any other story, and therefore Journalists should build credibility and integrity by reporting fairly and in a balance manner.Meanwhile, the security sector in Liberia has been confidentially treated with not much information coming from there to the public.As a result, civilians perceive it to be more delicate—that acquiring information from there is illegal and would lead to grave consequences.With the new phenomenon emerging in building a relationship with the media, the phobia may be erased if the relationship is nurtured and consolidated.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
Champion Club Nimba United FC last Sunday was supposed to have been beaten more than three goals, local fans said against Union Douala in Cameroon.Union Douala had beaten the Liberian champions 3-1 in their CAF Championship League first leg in Monrovia and as far as Cameroonians fans were concerned, the Liberians were in for a rude awakening, according to reports reaching the Daily Observer.And though the Liberian champions lost the return-leg encounter, played at the Reunification Stadium in Douala 1-0, they showed an improved side and fans there wondered how they lost the first leg 3-1.Though the Cameroonians qualified for the next round on a 4-1 goal aggregate, the Liberians held the home team equally, and denied them every chance they employed to increase their score line.The Liberian champions created several scares for the home team, as they came close to scoring. The Liberians were technically superior but meeting a much experience and older team, saw their chances at goals thwarted.Meanwhile, the rest of Africa engaged in the CAF Championship League, and the following are some of the results:Kaiser Chiefs 3, Volcan Club de Moroni 1; MO Bejaia 3, Ashantigold SC 1; Horoya AC 3, AS Douanes 0; Enymba 2, Vipers 0; AS Vita Club 1, Mafunzo 0; Asec Mimosas 0, Cotonchad 0; and Etoile du Congo 3, Mangasport 0.Others are RC Bobo Dioulasso 0-1 Stade Malien; Racing de Micomiseng 0-4 Recreativo do Libolo; Vital O FC 0-1 Lioli FC; Mamelodi Sundowns 2-0 Chicken Inn.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)